Feb 1 2010


Contacts: Jane McNamara, 212.233.1131 x24

Nicole Hanks, 518.618.1508

New York Council for the Humanities Awards More Than $300,000 in Major Grant Funds to 22 New York State Organizations
Continued Competitiveness of Council Grants Process Demonstrates Need for Humanities Based Programs

January, 2010, New York, NY – The New York Council for the Humanities has awarded more than $300,000 in major grant funds to 22 state organizations located in 14 counties in New York State. Awardees were selected from a pool of 60 applicants, a 35% increase from this time last year. The awarded grants will be used to support a variety of programs including dynamic radio programming, innovative interpretive projects and engaging public dialogues at venues ranging from performance spaces to museums to local colleges.

“The increased demand for Council’s grants demonstrates the great need for support in our state’s cultural arena,” said Council Director of Grants and Programs, Jane McNamara. “While many funding groups are retrenching, we continue to increase our level of giving and look for new ways to support public engagement with the issues and ideas that shape who we are as individuals and members of communities.”

The Council’s major grants are awarded twice a year to not-for-profit organizations across New York State. The grants are intended to provide financial support for public programs that bring humanities scholars and scholarships to a general public audience.

Some interesting aspects in this group of awardees include:

• A Focus on Local Stories – projects that engage the public with their shared past such as “Mark Twain in Elmira,” an exhibition at the Chemung County Historical Society and “Anglo-Native Relations on the Niagara Frontier,” a series of interpretive programs at Old Fort Niagara.

• Use of Innovative Media – radio and web-based programs that engage such important topics as immigration and globalization in Central New York and the impact of the Erie Canal on the lives of New Yorkers

• Conversation-Based Programs – programs that encourage sustained dialogue and discussion such as a series of weekly dialogues about jazz and culture at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

A full list of the awarded grants can be seen below. For a more details visit

EDITORS NOTE: New York Council for the Humanities executives are available for in-studio, interview and photo opportunities upon request. Please call Jane McNamara or Nicole Hanks for more information.


Background information on the New York Council for the Humanities:
Founded in 1975 and supported by Federal, State, and private sources, the New York Council for the Humanities helps all New Yorkers lead vibrant intellectual lives by strengthening traditions of cultural literacy, critical inquiry, and civic participation.
Background Information on the Grant Program:
The Council awards Major Grants (up to $20,000) and Mini Grants (up to $2,500). Council grants are meant to provide financial support for public programs presented by not-for-profit organizations across New York State that bring humanities scholars and scholarship to a general public audience. Special consideration is given to projects that reach underserved populations; to projects that, without our funding, might not happen; and to organizations that need financial seed money so that they may secure long-term support from other sources. Major Grants are accepted twice a year on September 15 and March 15. Mini Grants are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information visit

New York Council for the Humanities
Fall 2009 Major Grant Round: Awarded Projects

• The Adirondack Museum “Let's Eat!: Adirondack Food Traditions”
Blue Mountain Lake, Hamilton County
$20,000 Major Grant

An exhibition exploring the development of Adirondack food traditions from the 19th to the 20th centuries with a focus on the local environment.

Project Director: Laura Rice
Phone: (518) 352-7311 x107

• Brooklyn College, Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music “Black Brooklyn Renaissance Conference”
Brooklyn, Kings County
$8,800 Major Grant

A day-long event celebrating Brooklyn’s role as a major center of Black American music and culture.

Project Director: Ray Allen
Phone: (718) 951-5655 x2893

• Chemung County Historical Society “Mark Twain in Elmira”
Elmira, Chemung County
$8,181 Major Grant

An exhibition celebrating Mark Twain's ties to the community of Elmira on the occasion of the anniversary of his birth.

Project Director: Amy H. Wilson
Phone: (607) 734-4167 x206

• Community Works “Harlem's Black Arts Movement: Its Past, Its Present and Its Future”
New York, New York County
$11,050 Major Grant

Three interactive dialogues with key figures in the Black Arts Movement.

Project Director: Barbara Horowitz
Phone: (212) 459-1854

• CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice “Justice and Injustice in America: the 1950s”
New York, New York County
$16,250 Major Grant

A series of lectures focused on the 1950's and 1960's in America featuring preeminent scholars of jurisprudence and U.S. History.

Project Director: Gerald E. Markowitz
Phone: (212) 237-8458

• Eldridge Street Project “Ways We Worship: Jewish Practice & Beyond”
New York, New York County
$12,982 Major Grant

A new public tour and related lecture series exploring the history of Judaism in America.

Project Director: Amy Steinmilford
Phone: (212) 219-0903

• Epic Theatre Center “Epic Forum Series 2010: Doubt and Certainty”
New York, New York County
$11,300 Major Grant

A series of over 100 post-performance scholar-led discussions related to the theme of “Doubt and Certainty.”

Project Director: Jim Wallert
Phone: (212) 239-1770

• Erie Canal Museum “Heartland Passage: the Oral History of the Erie Canal”
Syracuse, Onondaga County
$20,000 Major Grant

An on-line oral history exhibition about people involved with the Erie Canal.

Project Director: Daniel Franklin Ward
Phone: (315) 471-0593 x13

• Geneva Historical Society “Geneva's Changing Landscape”
Geneva, Ontario County
$10,310 Major Grant

Development of a permanent exhibition about the history of Geneva from the 1700s to the present, using the lens of environmental history.

Project Director: John Marks
Phone: (315) 789-5151

• Imagining America “Revitalizing Downtown Syracuse: Local Culture, Trans-Local Knowledge”
Syracuse, Onondaga County
$18,000 Major Grant

A performance and four public discussions exploring issues of culture and community revitalization.

Project Director: Jan Cohen-Cruz
Phone: (315) 443-8788

• Lower Manhattan Cultural Council “Access Restricted: Nomadic Lecture Series Exploring Lower Manhattan”
New York, New York County
$15,000 Major Grant

A free nomadic lecture series that opens to the public rarely visited or inaccessible spaces in Lower Manhattan. This year's session will focus on the topics of jurisprudence and ethics.

Project Director: Emily Katzif
Phone: (212) 219-9401 x123

• Morrisville State College, Science, Technology & Society Program “STS Symposium-Agricultural Acts: On the Futures of Farming and Food”
Morrisville, Madison County
$5,850 Major Grant

A two-day program about the future of food production.

Project Director: Wyatt Galusky
Phone: (315) 684-6173

• National Jazz Museum in Harlem “Jazz for Curious Listeners”
New York, New York County
$20,000 Major Grant

A year-long series of weekly dialogues about jazz and culture.

Project Director: Loren Schoenberg
Phone: (212) 348-8300

• New Rochelle Council on the Arts “Sounds Shore Shakespeare Festival”
New Rochelle, Westchester County
$6,000 Major Grant

A Westchester county-wide celebration of Shakespearian works.

Project Director: Theresa Kump Leghorn
Phone: (914) 576-6518

• New York Library Association “The Empire State Book Festival”
Guilderland, Albany County
$7,500 Major Grant

A two-day celebration of reading held in the Empire State Plaza

Project Director: Michael Borges
Phone: (518) 432-6952

• Old Fort Niagara Association “Anglo-Native Relations on the Niagara Frontier, 1759-1764”
Youngstown, Niagara County
$11,370 Major Grant

A combination of special lectures and daily programs designed to examine the cross-cultural interactions at the fort between Iroquois people and Europeans.

Project Director: Robert L. Emerson
Phone: (716) 745-7611

• Radio Diaries, Inc. “America's Lost Stories”
New York, New York County
$20,000 Major Grant

A series of radio documentaries uncovering little-known chapters of 20th century American history to be broadcast on National Public Radio.

Project Director: Joe Richman
Phone: (212) 533-5247

• Slate Valley Museum Foundation “Cultural Expressions in the Slate Valley”
Granville, Washington County
$13,845 Major Grant

A series of six programs exploring the impact of various immigrant groups who came to the Slate Valley region between 1850 and 1930.

Project Director: Mary Lou Willits
Phone: (518) 642-1417

• SUNY Oswego, School of Communication, Media and the Arts “From Global to Local: Diaspora, the Arts and Community”
Oswego, Oswego County
$7,884 Major Grant

Weekly radio programs over a two-month period exploring issues of immigration and globalization as it relates to Central New York.

Project Director: Fritz Messere
Phone: (315) 312-6612

• Three Village Historical Society “General Washington's Spies: How a Group of Long Islanders Helped Win the Revolution”
Saint James, Suffolk County
$20,000 Major Grant

A permanent exhibition for children about a Long Island-based spy-ring during the Revolutionary War.

Project Director: Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan
Phone: (631) 834-9595

• Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) “Kindred Pursuits: Folk Art in North Country Life”
Canton, Saint Lawrence County
$20,000 Major Grant

An exhibition of contemporary and historic folk art from the North Country, exploring its relation to the region’s culture and history.

Project Director: Varick A. Chittenden
Phone: (315) 386-4289

• Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region “Gender, Class, Race and Ethnicity in Abolitionism, on the Underground Railroad, and in the Struggle Since”
Troy, Albany County
$19,686 Major Grant

Three days of programming related to the history of the Underground Railroad in New York State and beyond and its contemporary implications.

Project Director: Andor Skotnes
Phone: (518) 244-2021